Summer days are long and slow, which is why it’s the perfect season for devouring a smart, spicy story that never lets up on the suspense or the chemistry between its characters.
Julie Ann Walker’s award-winning Black Knights Inc. series comes to a heart-pounding conclusion this summer with Built to Last. Ten years ago, Interpol agent Sonya Butler had a whirlwind of a romance with a hard, mysterious man who left her behind in a tragedy that shook her to her core. Now, coerced into the service of the world’s most dangerous criminal kingpin, she comes face-to-face with a dangerous—and very hot—international legend whose ghosts have a startling amount in common with her own.
As an operative for some of the world’s most elite spy organizations, Angel has changed identities so many times he hardly remembers who he is. All that ever matters to him is his mission, and his drive to save the world. But regardless of how many years go by, he cannot escape the memory of the woman who still holds his heart. He is about to find out how hard it is to love when you have no name.
Walker’s signature style is a deadly, tightly paced combination of romance, intrigue and men on motorcycles. The perilous situations in this book felt so real, I found myself sincerely worried for the safety of the characters as I read. It can be difficult to combine multiple genres in one book, but Walker expertly toes the line between a high-octane spy thriller and an unforgettably steamy romance. Her characters are complex and believable, and readers will truly want to root for them.
If you’re looking for a genuinely unique summer read that will make those long days fly by and keep them endlessly exciting, I suggest you clear your schedule for Built to Last.
One of the unfortunate pitfalls of the romance genre is that, too often, the leading ladies of our favorite novels begin to blend together. An archetype has emerged: strong, sassy and sweetly unexceptional.
But now and then, a novel joins the ranks of books that have elevated the genre by breaking convention. This summer’s stellar new standout is One for the Rogue by Manda Collins.
Gemma Hastings has devoted her life to her work as a geologist and her friendships with the intellectual young women with whom she shares a home. The one person hampering her career (and her sanity) is Lord Cameron Lisle, who Gemma finds as insufferable as he is attractive. Her ambitions have painted a target on her back, however, and it soon becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to steal Gemma’s latest archeological discoveries. Complicating matters, she finds herself stuck in a sham romance with none other than Cameron himself after an indiscretion.
Lord Cameron would never admit it, but he’s found in Gemma a woman who is more than a match for his intellect as well as his stubbornness. As he grows closer to her, he realizes that he wants nothing more than to take a place in her life, and to keep her safe. Neither will be easy, but for Cameron, Gemma is worth the fight.
Manda Collins is a prolific author of lush, juicy Regency romances. She writes with style and intensity, and creates characters designed to uplift and empower women, which is a rare and valuable treat in today’s media. One for the Rogue stands out for its fierce dedication to developing interesting, engaging and worthwhile characters. Collins’ heroine is no shrinking violet, or even a strong but ordinary girl next door. Gemma is smarter and more passionate than average, and is completely driven by her work and her love and admiration for the women around her. Her suitor also develops more as a character than the typical romance novel hero. Cameron learns to support Gemma’s ambitions as he realizes that they are an integral part of the woman he grows to love.
Romance novels can run the risk of following convention too closely and becoming mundane as a result. For a story that is as sexy as it is empowering, pick up a copy of One for the Rogue.